Google’s decision to use page experience as a ranking factor caused a paradigm shift for SEOs, content creators, and digital marketers. Google has been nudging businesses to keep the audience at the front and center of their efforts if they wish to improve their organic visibility and online presence. But, with the Core Web Vitals in place, businesses will need to optimize their websites for a stellar Page Experience proactively.
But what is page experience?
According to Google, page experience means how easily, quickly, and effectively users can interact with your website, especially on mobile devices. In other words:
Google wants to see how user-friendly your web page is!
Relation Between Page Experience and Content
Page experience is an umbrella term that intends to evaluate a page based on the type of interaction users have with your website. It includes several factors, including core web vitals, mobile-friendliness, and safe browsing, among others.
Content is an integral part of any page, and Google confirms that quality content is still the ultimate ranking factor.
“While page experience is important, Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar. Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.”
Besides information, quality measures include the choice of words, images, videos, visuals, and CTAs. Google Page Experience measures all of it!
Is the text too small?
Does it answer visitors’ questions?
Are buttons too small, wrong color, working?
Are the images taking too long to load?
Is the video slowing down the scroll?
Are your links pointing to safe websites?
Yes, all of it, and more!
So, before we see how you can optimize your content for Google Page Experience, let’s really quickly go through the prominent metrics that constitute a good or bad page experience.
Prominent Elements Affecting Page Experience
Google has one very simple mantra: Users should be able to visit a page and get what they were looking for without a hitch. So far, Google has the following key metrics to measure the page experience, which directly affect your page ranking.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals grade your page Good, Needs improvement, or Poor based on three metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint: It calculates the perceived loading speed based on the time taken by the largest image or text file to load.
- First Input Delay: It determines responsiveness based on the time taken by the page to respond when users interact with a page for the first time.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: It calculates visual stability and quantifies the unexpected layout shift while a webpage is loading.
Your webpage should be secure. There should be no malware, deceptive content, or harmful downloads on your website.
Mobile-friendly websites have a well-coded responsive design compatible with different browsers and mobile devices. You can perform this mobile-friendly test to check the status of your website.
No intrusive interstitials
Pop-ups and interstitials are crucial for conversions, but they can also make the user experience less delightful. While Google doesn’t penalize you for using them, you have to make sure they’re not interfering with the user’s ability to interact with your webpage.
Make sure that you serve your page over HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure); otherwise, not only is your page unfavored by Google for ranking, it also shows a warning sign telling the searchers that your page might not be secure.
Content Optimization For Google Page Experience
While many of the Google Page Experience metrics rely on technical optimization of your webpages, content also influences the Google Page Experience. So it’s imperative to tweak it in order to offer your readers the most enjoyable and fruitful time on your website. Here are a few ways to optimize your content to improve Core Web Vitals and Google Page Experience rating.
1. Keep File Sizes Small
According to Google, the optimal time for a page to load as determined by LCP is below 2.5 seconds. Bulky images, videos, and other files increase the time your webpage takes to load. It can impact LCP value negatively. The largest file, image, or text block on your website must load within 2.5 seconds to 4 seconds if you wish to score Good on LCP. Slow loading can also increase your bounce rate.
Here are a few ways you can easily increase the load time.
- Reduce image size to make sure that they’re around 100 kb in size. Use Photoshop or Tinyjpg to reduce image size.
- Use JPEGs for photographs and PNGs for graphics with fewer than 16 colors.
- Consider embedding videos by using a third-party host instead of self-hosting.
Adding Alt text to all images is also a good practice as the alt text will appear if the image is not loading, and the reader won’t be left annoyed.
2. Make Sure All Links Point To Safe Websites
Secure websites are particularly crucial for eCommerce sites. Users should feel confident sharing their financial information on your site. You can use Safe Browsing to get an analysis of how to fix security issues.
Besides using HTTPS for your website, make sure you always link to reputable, high-authority sites. Website links are so ubiquitous that their importance is easily overlooked. A website can have hundreds of links directed to different webpages.
Now, imagine not checking before linking to different websites and directing your readers to harmful websites. Neither users nor Google will appreciate being directed to insecure, funky-looking, or hacked sites.
If you’re careless about who you’re linking to, Google may not let you climb its ranking ladder. If you don’t wish to land on a snake, here’s what you can do.
- Make sure all the links in your content lead to safe websites.
- You can use Scan URL, Google Transparency Report, URL Void, or Virustotal Safe to check if a link’s safe or not.
- Apply appropriate tags to your outbound links. If you’re unsure of any website you’re linking to, mark the link as no-follow, so the search engines do not associate it with your website.
3. Find Usability Issues With Heatmaps
Heatmaps assess audience behavior as your readers scroll up and down a webpage. They monitor a webpage by inserting scripts in the code and providing a visual report that shows which elements get the most clicks.
For example, with a heatmap, you can spot areas on your page where you’re losing most of your visitors. Observe what features at that part of the page may be causing the disconnect.
- Is it that the image isn’t loading?
- Is the page shifting at this point, increasing the page instability score (CLS), to your detriment?
- Is the CTA irrelevant or leading to an irrelevant page?
- Is the link or the button not responding, which may be the source of poor FID?
Whatever is the reason, heatmaps help you figure it out and gauge the improvements. You can use Crazy Egg to run a heatmap.
4. Reduce Redirects
Redirects are tricky. On the one hand, they lead users to the correct pages. On the other hand, the process of directing users from one page to the other can slow down your webpages.
Because pages with Good LCP must load with the first 2.5 seconds, too many redirects and making your visitors wait isn’t a good look for your page experience. For example, if you’ve got a mobile redirect pattern that looks like:
"website1.com -> www.website2.com -> m.website3.com -> m.website4.com/contactus,"
Every additional redirect will make the page load slower and shoo your customers away. Use fewer redirects and keep your users on your website. Here’s how you can keep your redirects at a minimum.
- Avoid unnecessary redirects. Always assign a well thought-off, easy-to-read URL and resist changing it once published.
- If you must add a redirect, make sure the final page is only one redirect away.
- Apply appropriate redirects for every situation. For example, if you’ve deleted a page, add 410 redirect to tell the search engine that the page is gone forever, so it shouldn’t try to serve it anymore. You can do so easily through Yoast.
5. Make Sure The Content Is Super Relevant
Content relevance means how well the content on your website answers your visitors’ search queries. The more relevant your website content is, the more a user will spend time reading it. That’s called dwell time, a strong ranking factor!
Similarly, if your content is engaging, readers will interact with it instead of bouncing back to the SERP, which is one of the factors Google uses to gauge page experience.
So, how do you make your content super relevant?
- Understand the search intent of your target keywords and fulfill it.
- Use the main keyword in the title, preferably toward the beginning.
- Make sure the meta description uses keyword variation and promises search intent fulfillment.
- Use keyword variations in some subheadings and in the text where it makes sense.
- Use keyword variations and relevant words and phrases in the Alt Text for some images.
- Add keyword variations in image and video titles and captions.
If you will place relevant keywords and key phrases in all the appropriate places mentioned above, the users will know that your content is relevant to what they were looking for. Then they will be more motivated to read under the headings.
6. Use Simple Words And Sentences
Contrary to what many people may think, people are more drawn to simple content. When people search on the internet, they are mostly looking for answers to their queries or something interesting to spend their spare time. What they aren’t looking for are superfluous words and complex jargon.
But why do people find short and simple words and sentences easier to read?
- Super simple content is enjoyable to read. Short, easy-to-read sentences improve the readability of your content. It lets the ideas flow naturally and can make your website a favorite of your visitors.
- Humans have the worst short-term memory (15-30 seconds). Even goldfish have better short-term memory than us. Simple words allow people to remember the content instead of getting stuck with the words.
- The human brain likes shortcuts, which explains the overwhelming popularity of videos and articles about hacks. Readers prefer actionable content and don’t care for flowery vocabulary. The simpler the sentences, the better!
The impact of Google Page Experience is likely to be a deciding factor in filtering out low-quality websites just like Google’s previous updates EAT and YMYL discouraged low-quality content. So, while your website’s technical team is doing everything it can to bring Core Web Vitals within the acceptable range, you should really comb through your content to bring your A-game as the updates come into effect.